Have you ever pondered what makes a band great? Is it years slogging away on the toilet circuit honing your craft playing covers to disinterested crowds…that seemed to work for The Beatles and Black Sabbath. Maybe it’s a case of constantly refining and redefining your sound by pumping out numerous demos until, at last, you get it right. Or maybe, just maybe it’s a little thing called chemistry. Below the Fall have come, seemingly from nowhere. As yet the band have yet to play a single gig, have released nothing prior to this recording and don’t appear to have been together for more than 5 minutes yet on this two track recording have, not only secured a label release through the newly formed Witch Hunter Records, have produced a release absolutely brimming with class, power and style.
Eschewing most of the current trends the band create and emotionally charged (but not emo) sound that draws heavily on bands such as Far, Deftones and Hundred Reasons (anyone remember them?). This is big on atmosphere, heavy of guitar and hypnotic of groove. Below The Fall are not out to show how clever they are on their instruments, there is very little excess fat in the structures and certainly no unsightly public displays of masturbation to contend with. Instead the band are solely about the tunes. Both tracks here, “Commissioner” and “Just Run Away” display a musical awareness and grasp on song writing that is as impressive as it is refreshing. The guitars weave subtle melodies around each other before coming together in orgasmic crescendos of heaviness, the vocals are clear, clean, precise and naggingly catchy. The apparent simplicity of the music allows the voice to carry the melody and drive it into your memories. As for the drumming, based on this display I would have assumed that drummer Alex had been playing for years but such is his innate skill, groove and flair it’s hard to believe he’s still a relative newcomer to this game…Dave Grohl watch your ass!!!
While I’m praising the shit out of the music on offer here I may as well mention the production. Most bands on their first outings may settle for a rehearsal tape or some shitty back street 4 track studio to get their ideas down. Not so Below The Fall. Despite being recorded quickly in a local studio this would be worthy of any major release…the guitars sound rich and full of depth, the bass underpins proceedings with a lovely weight and the drums snap and pound in all the right places. If you’d told me this had been recorded at Abbey Road I’d have no reason to doubt you.
At only two tracks this is very much a tease…I’ve just listened to it three times straight on my ipod whilst writing this and could easily go again…so I guess we’ll have to wait patiently for more in future. Hopefully the guys will get some decent gigs off the back of this excellent release and take this to a world in which I think they’re due to find a very warm welcome.
If you do want to grab a nice physical copy of this in its screen printed, environmentally friendly recycled sleeve it is limited to 150 copies in the first instance. Alternatively it is available as a “pay what you like” download from their Bandcamp page but I would strongly urge you to throw a few notes their way for this, it’s more than worth it.
Ed: By the way, we'd like to welcome Ollie to the Ripple family. Main beast of Grifter, he joins Woody's Mighty High as Ripplers who rock. Welcome aboard Ollie!